UN report finds Iran in violation of Yemen arms embargo

Iran has violated a UN arms embargo by failing to block supplies to Yemen's Houthi rebels, according to a UN expert's report. (Lockheed Martin)
Updated 12 January 2018
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UN report finds Iran in violation of Yemen arms embargo

UNITED NATIONS: Iran has violated a UN arms embargo by failing to block supplies to Yemen's Houthi rebels of ballistic missiles that were fired at Saudi Arabia, according to a UN experts' report seen by AFP on Friday.
The finding is expected to bolster accusations from the US and Saudi Arabia that Iran has supplied weaponry to the Houthis in their war against the Saudi-led coalition.
"The panel has identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo," said the report presented to the Security Council.
"As a result, the panel finds that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of resolution 2216" that imposed the ban on arms sales to Yemen in 2015, said the 79-page report presented on Tuesday.
Iran has strongly denied arming the Houthis and last month accused US Ambassador Nikki Haley of presenting "fabricated" evidence that a November 4 missile fired at Riyadh airport was Iranian-made.
Haley told the Security Council last month that the United States will push for action against Iran for providing missiles that have been fired at its ally, but Russia quickly signalled that it would not endorse such plans.
While the experts pointed to the Iranian origin of the missiles, they were unable to identify the supplier and stressed that Iran had failed to provide information to the panel.
Iran "failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of Borkan-2H short-range ballistic missiles, field storage tanks for liquid bio-propellant oxidizer for missiles and Ababil-T (Qasef-1) unmanned aerial vehicles to the then Houthi-Saleh alliance," said the report.
The UN experts traveled to Saudi Arabia in November and again last month to inspect the remnants of missiles fired by the Houthis in May, July, November and December. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015.
More than 8,750 people have died in the war and the country is facing what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
 


Prison becomes ‘second home’ for Turkish cartoonist

Updated 10 min 20 sec ago

Prison becomes ‘second home’ for Turkish cartoonist

  • Unfailingly optimistic and modest, Kart refuses to be run down by his ordeals

ISTANBUL: Renowned Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart says he has spent as much time in prison and courthouses as he has at work since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power.

His latest stint in jail started in April, after an appeals court upheld his sentence of three years and nine months for “helping terrorist organizations.”

Released last week pending another appeal, Kart told AFP: “For 15 years, prisons and courthouses have become a second home to me.”

Kart, who was recognized last year by the Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, was among 14 journalists and staff from the renowned opposition paper Cumhuriyet convicted in the case.

He was initially arrested in 2016 after Erdogan launched a major crackdown on opponents in the wake of a failed coup.

“I have spent almost the same amount of time in court corridors as I spent in the paper. It is very unfortunate,” he told AFP.

Unfailingly optimistic and modest, Kart refuses to be run down by his ordeals, and says he always made an effort to look his best for prison visitors.

“I never welcomed my visitors in a hopeless state,” he said. “I would shave, pick my cleanest shirt from my modest wardrobe and welcome them with open arms. We would spend our time telling jokes.” His morale was boosted by the knowledge he had done nothing wrong.

“If you believe that your position is right, if you have an inner peace about your past actions, then it is not that difficult to stand prison conditions,” he said. Kart has been in and out of trouble since Erdogan took power in 2003.

His first lawsuit came in 2005 over a cartoon portraying Erdogan, then prime minister, as a cat entangled in a ball of wool.

“I have drawn cartoons for over 40 years ... I did it in the past with other political leaders, but I was never the subject of a court case,” Kart said. 

“The frame of tolerance has seriously narrowed today.”

The current case against him claims he contacted members of the Gulen movement accused of orchestrating the failed coup in 2016. 

It also says the 14 Cumhuriyet staffers had conspired to change the paper’s editorial policy to support the Gulenists, as well as Kurdish rebels and the ultra-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front.

“Today the accusations of terrorism have gone well beyond a realistic point,” Kart said.

“When you take a look at my cartoons, you see how much I am against any kind of terrorist organization and how seriously and strongly I criticize them.”

Rights advocates including the Reporters Without Borders have called on Turkey to revise its anti-terrorism and defamation laws, which they claim are abused to silence opponents.

Cumhuriyet — Turkey’s oldest daily founded in 1924 — is not owned by a business tycoon but by an independent foundation, making it an easier target for authorities.

The paper’s former editor-in-chief Can Dundar fled to Germany after being convicted in 2016 over an article alleging that Turkey had supplied weapons to Islamist groups in Syria.

It has its own internal problems, too — Kart and some of the others actually quit the paper last year over disagreements with the new management.

But the case has added to the chilling effect that has infected the whole of the media in Turkey, which has the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.

No date has been set for the next appeal, and Kart has no idea how the saga will end.

“Everyone knows that there has been a political shadow hanging over our case,” he said.

Whatever happens, he said his focus would remain on drawing.

“Cartoons are really a very strong language because you can find a way to express yourself under any circumstances, even under pressure.”